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Mexican American cultural research

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1 Mexican American cultural research
Research completed by: Tana Schafer VCSU - Educ Spring 2014

2 Personal interview I completed an interview with a Mexican American student who is very involved and interested in her family’s heritage. Araseli alcarez, 16, Carson, nd Family ties to Techacho, Mexico My interview with araseli was very compelling. It is surprising to see a young adult with as much passion and knowledge of her culture and family heritage. She was very informative on her family and cultural customs.

3 Mexican American history
Conquistador Herman Cortez conquered the Aztec Empire and gave the land to Spain. The Spanish and Aztec Indians mixed to form a new human race called Mestizos. The Indian tribes were tired of being converted to Catholicism and rebelled against the Spanish by expelling all of the Spanish Missions from Arizona and California. Mexico started to challenge Spanish rule and began a rebellion in order to gain freedom and independence from Spain injustice. The Santa Fe Trail opens and becomes a vital commercial and military trail between Mexico and the United States. Mexico passed the General Colonization law which granted impresario grants to individuals to start a settlement in Texas. ( Staff, 2010)

4 Mexican American history, cont.
1835 – conflict between the government of Mexico and the Texas colonists occurred, resulting in the establishment of the republic of Texas. 1846 – The Mexican American war began. 1848 – the treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo was signed ending the Mexican-American war resulting in united states gaining control of Texas, New Mexico, the Santa Fe trail, California, Arizona, Nevada, and Utah. Porfirio Diaz became the Dictator of Mexico. ( Staff, 2010)

5 Mexican American history, cont.
1910 – the epic revolution of Mexico was started by peasants and urban workers who wanted an end to the social injustice of Diaz. The revolution, which lasted 10 years, caused Many people to flee to the border states of Texas, New Mexico, and California to escape the rebellion. 1942 – the bracero program began allowing Mexican workers to enter the united states to perform field work. The program, which lasted until 1965, brought over 4 million Mexican workers to the united states. 2006 – drug cartels began moving into Mexico, thus starting a drug war. Many immigrants fled Mexico to escape the fighting. 2014 – Mexican immigrants and their descendants now make up a significant portion of the U.S. population and have become one of the most influential social and cultural groups in the country. Mexican American culture will likely continue to shape U.S. life in language, politics, food, and daily living and will help define the nation's identity for a new century. ( Staff, 2010)

6 Family roles (Damewood, n.d.)
The culture of Mexican families has a strong foundation in unity. families typically live in the same neighborhood or in the same house, which reflects the dedication to supporting family members and displaying loyalty no matter what happens. Traditionally, Mexican culture has clearly defined family roles: Father - generally takes charge of family decisions, and authority is rarely challenged by either the mother or children Mother - heart of the family, the one who cooks, cleans and cares for the children on a full-time basis Brothers - expected to defend the honor of their sisters, both verbally and physically Sisters - relied upon to emerge in the image of their mothers, learning how to cook, nurture children and cater to the needs of the men in the family (Damewood, n.d.)

7 Rites of Passage (Damewood, n.d.) matrimonial golden coin ceremony
quinceanera matrimonial golden coin ceremony Young Mexican females are honored on their 15th birthday with a ceremony in which the girl's father exchanges her flat, childish style shoes for a demure pair of modestly high-heeled shoes to denote her passage into womanhood. The groom bestows his betrothed with 13 golden coins as a gesture of his trust in her to treasure and care for him and his possessions. Her acceptance of the coins signifies her devotion to love, respect and nurture him. (Damewood, n.d.)

8 Mexican-American holidays & celebrations

9 ¡Viva la Independencia! – September 16
Mexico celebrates its independence on the 16th of September. On the evening of September 15, the president of Mexico repeats the Grito de Dolores from the National Palace in Mexico City, replicating Father Hidalgo’s cry for independence. In every village in Mexico, the Grito is given simultaneously by the mayor. In many areas of the United States there are local festivities sponsored by the Mexican Consulate. (Johnson & Hernández Rodríguez, 2002)

10 Día de Los Muertos – November 2
The Día de los Muertos is a mixture of indigenous beliefs and Roman Catholicism. On this special day, families attend mass then clean and decorate the tombs of their loved ones with flowers and candles to celebrate the return of their spirits (Johnson & Hernández Rodríguez, 2002). Families celebrate by eating a meal and setting a plate for the deceased (Alcarez, 2014). Día de Los Muertos video

11 The Mexican revolution – November 20
The Mexican Revolution provided the backdrop for heroes of legendary fame whose deeds are celebrated in great works of art as well as in ballads called corridos. Public school ceremonies commemorating the Revolution often include plays and songs describing the events. (Johnson & Hernández Rodríguez, 2002)

12 Christmas in mexico (Johnson & Hernández Rodríguez, 2002)
There are very few places in the world where Christmas is celebrated so thoroughly and with so much color as in Mexico. Observances are festive and combine religious and social traditions. The celebration begins on the night of December 16 and continues for nine nights, through Christmas Eve. Posada means inn; the Posadas commemorate the journey of the Holy Family in the story of the Nativity. Families visit nine homes each night. They form a procession carrying lighted candles, and are led by two children who represent Mary and Joseph. At the door to each house they stop and beg admittance but are refused until they arrive at the appointed house. At the designated house, prayers are followed by a party during which the children break the piñata. (Johnson & Hernández Rodríguez, 2002)

13 Birthdate of Benito Juárez – March 21
Benito Juárez led the struggle against the French occupation of Mexico from He separated the powers of church and state, fought for land reform, and limited the powers of the military. Benito Juárez died in 1872 during his second term as president. (Johnson & Hernández Rodríguez, 2002)

14 Cinco De Mayo – May 5 (Johnson & Hernández Rodríguez, 2002)
CINCO De Mayo Video Cinco de Mayo commemorates the Mexican army’s 1862 victory over France at the Battle of Puebla during the Franco- Mexican War ( ). traditions include parades, mariachi music performances and street festivals in cities and towns across Mexico and the United States. (Johnson & Hernández Rodríguez, 2002)

15 Teacher’s Day – May 15 (Johnson & Hernández Rodríguez, 2002)
The tradition of Teacher’s Day originated in the city of San Luis Potosí, where a group of young people met every 15th of May to honor their most beloved teacher. On May 15, students, parents, and the community recognize teachers with a festival that includes dances, recitation of poems, flowers, food, and presents. (Johnson & Hernández Rodríguez, 2002)

16 Cultural gaps in education
Sensory overload The tendency in the United States to cover walls and available spaces with learning aids creates an overabundance of stimuli. In Mexico, children do not change classrooms, teachers do Numbers and Dates If expressed as numbers, dates are written as follows: the day, the month, the year. Example: September 16, /09/96 No. is used for number, not # Months are traditionally not capitalized (Johnson & Hernández Rodríguez, 2002)

17 Cultural gaps in education, cont.
Home literacy Parents of Mexican origin probably did not have educational opportunities available to them resulting in illiteracy; thus, deepening the communication gap between school and home, making it very difficult to help their children adjust to the new school or help them with their assignments. Behavior of faculty and staff For most Mexicans, the culturally determined distance maintained between people, is much smaller than for Anglos. Mexican children and adults will misinterpret maneuvers to keep a “comfortable” space. (Johnson & Hernández Rodríguez, 2002)

18 Cultural gaps in education, cont.
Tradition of respect and submission The most common misunderstanding prompted by this cultural difference is the lowering of eyes in the presence of an adult or a person in authority. While taught as mandatory behavior to show respect in Mexico, in the United States means guilt! Differences in writing styles Mexicans value creativity and innovation, and this is evident in speaking and writing. Different system for naming large numbers As in many parts of the world, the “English” system is used for naming large numbers. “One billion” is called “one thousand million.” (Johnson & Hernández Rodríguez, 2002)

19 Strategies for success
Teach staff members how to pronounce the most common names and a few words of greeting. Implement an orientation for new students, to include the following: A tour of the school including the following: locating classrooms, bathrooms, the cafeteria; introductions to key staff, including those who speak Spanish; bus stops An explanation of some of the cultural differences, such as the significance of lowering the eyes Bathroom protocol Finding the locker and learning how to use the lock Key phrases in English, such as “May I go to the bathroom?” Prepare an information packet for the new student’s teachers, counselor, and administrators. This might include a description of the student’s family, home town in Mexico, academic achievement, interests, etc. (Johnson & Hernández Rodríguez, 2002)

20 Strategies for success, cont.
Make an attempt to get to know the student and learn about their family. Include elements in the curriculum that are familiar to your student and relevant to his or her experiences. Nourish and grow a student’s demonstrated interest by providing that child with more information on the subject or supplies used to study that subject. Allow the student to be bicultural! Treat his or her language and ethnicity as assets rather than hurdles to overcome. Incorporate the Spanish language into the curriculum in creative ways. Don’t make your students feel like they need to choose whether they are Mexican or American, let them be both! (Helping students from rural Mexico feel comfortable in your classroom, n.d.)

21 Mexican American Cultural Lesson Plan
Grades 3-4 Subject of Lesson: Dia de los Muertos Expected Outcomes Learner Will: Recognize different cultures have celebrations different from their own. Become familiar with the Spanish language and learn to identify a few words and their meanings. Mold and design skull art using clay. (Pretti, n.d.)

22 Mexican American Cultural Lesson Plan, Cont.
Resources Needed Pictures of Skull Sculptures Salt Dough Cooking Sheets for Dough Paints for the Skull Sculptures Glossary of Spanish vocabulary words for Day of the Dead (Pretti, n.d.)

23 Mexican American Cultural Lesson Plan, Cont.
Directions Ask students the following questions: “Have you ever had a picnic in a cemetery?” “Have you ever baked a cake for someone who is no longer living?” “Have you ever remembered the dead with joy instead of sadness?“ Discuss the students answers, and explain how these are some events that take place during the Day of the Dead celebration. Explain when and where the Day of the Dead is celebrated. Be sure to explain to the students that there are areas in the U.S. that celebrate this holiday as well. Share information about this holiday. (Pretti, n.d.)

24 Mexican American Cultural Lesson Plan, Cont.
Review information about the holiday symbols. Show pictures displaying some of these symbols, and focus on the decorative skulls. Explain to students that they are going to be designing a skull sculpture of their own out of the salt dough provided. Tell them that once their sculpture is molded, they need to be baked in the oven over night, and then they can paint and decorate them the following day. Show them examples of different skulls. After the skulls have been baked in the oven, display pictures of some elaborate skulls that are seen during the Day of the Dead celebration. Focus on the different colors, shapes, and designs that the skulls have, in order to help the students get ideas for decorating their own skull sculpture. Provide paints and allow them to decorate their sculpture. (Pretti, n.d.)

25 Mexican American Cultural Lesson Plan, Cont.
Describe how the Spanish language ties into this celebration. Introduce some Spanish words relating to the Day of the Dead celebration to expand the students' Spanish vocabulary, write them on the board, and have the students practice the pronunciation of each word. Use words such as: flores - flowers ofrenda - offering calavera - literally skull; or imaginary and satirical obituaries which appear in newspapers; or satirical verses calaca - skeleton pan de muertos - Day of the Dead bread cultura - culture angelitos - young children who have died and are remembered on Day of Dead. (Pretti, n.d.)

26 Mexican American Cultural Lesson Plan, Cont.
Performance Assessment 1. Participation points will be awarded to students who participate in the Spanish word vocabulary. 2. Completion grades will be given for proper creation and completion of the skulls art project. 3. Students will write in their journals how they feel about the celebration of Dia de los Muertos and if they feel Americans should also celebrate the dead in their own way. (Pretti, n.d.)

27 Helpful links Mexican American PowerPoint Research Fact Sheet
The Handbook for educators who work with children of Mexican origin Learn North Carolina: On-line teaching and learning tools for educators including bilingual and ESL resources National Education Association: Listing of bilingual book titles which are available in both English and Spanish editions.

28 references Alcarez, A. (2014, February 23). (T. Schafer, Interviewer)
Damewood, C. (n.d.). Mexican Family Culture. Retrieved March 3, 2014, from Love to Know Family: Day of the Dead Explained. (n.d.). Retrieved March 3, 2014, from Helping students from rural Mexico feel comfortable in your classroom. (n.d.). Retrieved from Learn NC: Staff. (2009). Cinco De Mayo. (A. Networks, Producer) Retrieved March 4, 2014, from

29 History. com Staff. (2010). Mexico Timeline Staff. (2010). Mexico Timeline. (A+E Networks) Retrieved March 3, 2014, from Johnson, M. S., & Hernández Rodríguez, F. P. (2002). The Handbook for Teachers Who Work with Children of Mexican Origin. Chapel Hill, North Carolina: The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Retrieved March 3, 2014, from Library of Congress Learning Page Staff. (2014, March 3). Immigration. Retrieved from Library of Congress: ations/immigration/alt/mexican.html Pretti, A. (n.d.). Celebrations: Day of the Dead Mini Unit. Retrieved March 5, 2014, from TeacherLINK: celebrations/Day.html

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